Sunday, 11 November 2007

Day 20: Shinmachi - Kumagaya

Distance covered: 31.7km
Weather: Rain

After the previous day's raw egg and coffee debacle, the thought of another Japanese style breakfast was a bit too much, so I got up early and popped down to a nearby 7/11 to buy a fruit yoghurt, fruit slice, egg sandwich and iced coffee, which I ate it in my room before joining Erik in the dining room downstairs. Apart from the raw egg, the hotel breakfast actually looked quite nice. There was hot coffee, too, so I helped myself to a cup.

We set off at around 7.45am. The going was easy and we made good time to the next post-town of Honjo. Along the way we passed a sign indicating we were less than 100km away from Tokyo, which seemed more than enough reason to take a photo of it!

We had a break in Honjo, then pressed on to the next post-town of Fukuya, arriving in time for lunch. After a bit of a hunt for somewhere to eat, we found a curry restaurant by the station (a lavish brick building resembling a European palace - the station that is, not the curry restaurant).

We resumed walking at 1pm, hoping to be in Kumagaya by 3.30pm or so, but about 5km out from Kumagaya I got confused by a new motorway that wasn't on our map and we ended up drifting off course. Although I had no idea if were on the correct road or not, I thought we were heading in roughly the right direction. When we finally did ask someone the way we learnt we were at least a couple of kilometres from where we should have been.

We eventually reestablished contact with the Nakasendo on the main street of Kumagaya where the old road famously goes through a department store. Much of central Kumagaya was destroyed during the war, and during the post-war reconstruction period the streets were realigned and a corner of the Yagibashi Department Store (the cosmetics section, to be precise) ended up being built over the top of the old Nakasendo. So if you want to walk this section of it you have to time your arrival to coincide with the opening hours of the store.

It was close to 5pm by the time we arrived at our hotel by Kumagaya station. We checked in then went out for dinner at a chain Italian restaurant, where I had spaghetti, garlic toast, seafood chowder, and a glass of white wine all for 903 yen, while Erik had a steak and pizza.

I noticed that my left big toe (the one that was operated on back in New Zealand) was a bit sore around the nail. I hoped it wasn't infected.

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